This work proposes a simple method, based on the crystal rotation technique and heterodyne interferometry, to simultaneously determine the pretilt angle and cell gap of nematic liquid crystal cells. When heterodyne light passes through a nematic liquid crystal cell, the phase retardation given by the characteristic parameters of the cell can be measured accurately by heterodyne interferometry. This phase retardation relates to the pretilt angle, cell gap, and angle of incidence on the cell. By using the measured phase retardations at two incident angles, the pretilt angle and cell gap of the nematic liquid crystal cell can be estimated by numerical analysis. This method is feasible, requiring only two incident angles and prior knowledge of two characteristic parameters—extraordinary and ordinary refractive indices of the liquid crystal. It is characterized by the advantages of simplicity of installation, ease of operation, high stability, high accuracy, and high resolution.
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